Monday, April 23, 2007

Finding our wings

We all reach that age in life when we have to start “doing” for ourselves and learning to do without those we’ve spent a lifetime depending on. Some go off to college, join the army, or get a job and begin supporting themselves. While others simply experience a different scary first life has to offer. However, no matter what that first step out of the nest looks like we all have to experience those first moments of testing our own wings. My first moments out of the nest had me heading straight for college. I had spent a lifetime listening to society tell me it was the “right” thing to do. My parent’s thought that was what I should do and EVERYONE knows you can’t do anything these days without a degree. So I enrolled in a wonderful school and spent 2 ½ years getting to know some of the most amazing people anyone could ever meet. However, I wasn’t content. There was always a small part of me that was screaming to be let out. The small part that was saying this wasn’t the life I had chosen for myself and somewhere in that “testing my own wings” thing I had allowed my parents, society, fear make the flight plan.
All it takes is a dream, a calling, or a whisper in the wind so faint that you strain to hear what it is telling you. It may not be what society deems as “right” or what your parents think is “best.” However, it is the thing that keeps coming back to your heart, mind, and soul even when you have both feet firmly planted on another path. My dream and I guess calling had always been to serve God in the mission field somewhere. However, my parents’ always said, “after college” “some place near” or “go on a 2 week trip.” For a long time I listened. Mostly because no matter how certain I was that missions was where my heart was, I couldn’t convince my mind and body that it should be there too. As discontent as I was at school I wasn’t convinced I was ready to walk away from my loved ones and all the comforts of life.
It wasn’t until the end of my 5th semester at Malone that the still small voice inside of my heart caught up to the rest of me. It was tired of being ignored and needed to be heard. I believe we all have that still small voice inside of us somewhere. Some of us are just better at listening to it from the very beginning instead of waiting 2 ½ years to finally get it. My still small voice came in the form of a blog. A girl from my hometown was working in Honduras at a children’s home and was using a blog to express her thoughts. As I sat reading her words and looking at her photos I kept getting this nagging feeling from deep within me. It was saying, “this is everything you’ve ever wanted or longed for.” It was in that moment my flight plan began to change and my life began to shift into a different direction.
I finally allowed myself to step back and review my life. Was I truly happy? Sure I loved my life but was I happy leading the life someone else had chosen for me? Was I happy leading the “safe” life and ignoring that longing that I felt on a daily basis? In the following 3 weeks I prayed, planned, and prepared for this new phase of life I was about to enter. I was expecting at the least a change of scenery that would help me decide just what I wanted my future to look like. At the most I was looking for 3 ½ months in another country where I could rid myself of life’s distractions and grow spiritually. Well I managed to achieve both and so much more.
Stepping out of our comfort zones and answering that quiet nagging voice isn’t always easy. However, for me I’m learning that God never said it would be easy. He simply said that in the end it would be worth it. The sacrifice is great but the reward is better. We all have those life defining moments of life. Some times we go through them without even knowing we are being changed then get to the other side and step back thinking “wow I’ve come a long way.” That was how this experience was for me. I came simply to get rid of that nagging feeling. I needed to feed the hunger inside of me before it ate me alive. My decision hurt some of the most important people in my life but the alternative would have hurt me so much more. I would have missed out on one of the most crucial lessons that life and God had to teach me. There are risks and costs to a program of action. However, they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction. I’ve learned that stepping out into the unknown can be one of the scariest most beneficial parts of life.
Not to long ago I read a quote by Mary Manin Morrissey that I feel best sums up my experience with this whole experience. She says, “Even though you may want to move forward in your life, you may have one foot on the brakes. In order to be free, we must learn how to let go. Release the hurt. Release the fear. Refuse to entertain your old pain. The energy it takes to hang onto the past is holding you back from a new life.” I had spent years trying so hard to be the person everyone else wanted me to be. I’m known for hating change and everything that comes with it so the thought of walking away from my comfy life often left me feeling quite uneasy. However, I found that by taking my foot off the brakes and simply putting the wheel in God’s hands (the small nagging voice) that I found a new life that released me of my hurts, my fears, and my discontentment. Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts. It will never be easy to make the big changes in life but is necessary if we are going to fully get out of life what it has to offer. The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


Do you ever feel overwhelmed, as if all of the worlds problems just got placed on your shoulders? Do you ever feel like 24 hours is simply not enough time to accomplish everything on your to-do list? Do you ever feel like if you get one more thing that you have to do in X amount of time that you may just lose it all together. There are definitely moments when I feel so overwhelmed with life that I want to tuck my tail between my legs and run for the hills. Then I am reminded that God is bigger than my to-do list. He knew all my shortcomings before He entrusted me with all the responsibilities and jobs that I have to do. I'm also reminded of how grateful I am that God sees me with eyes of love instead of condemnation. On the days when I lose my temper with the kids, fail to meet a a deadline with my schoolwork, or miss a chance to help someone I'm immensely thankful that God is the patient, loving, always-seeing-the-best-in-me kind of Father. I'm far from perfect. I mess up daily. I often bite off more than I can chew and have a hard time saying no when it comes down to adding thing number 157 to my to-do list. However, God is changing me and perfecting me. AND He is doing the same for you. He understands when we miss the mark. He cheers us on when we take a step closer to Him. He always loves us when we are at our very worst. So the next time you're feeling overwhelmed, ill-equipped, or totally clueless just remind yourself that God adores you.

Friday, April 20, 2007

spiritually crippled

As you are all painfully aware (because I have mentioned it on here a million times) about 3 weeks ago little Monica broke her leg. You will remember me talking about the pain she was in as we drove to the hospital and the things that hearing one of your own wailing beside you does to a "momma's" heart. Well I never did truly finish the story. We took her into the city that night only to find out they couldn't set it until the next day. So they wrapped it and immobilized it the best they could and told us to come back the next morning so they could set and cast it. So not only did we have to drive down the mountain with her in pain but the ride back up the mountain wasn't much better. We then spent a very fitful night with her as she struggled to get comfortable enough to sleep. The next morning true to his word the doctor met us back at the hospital and set/cast her little leg. Well by the time she returned that day she still wasn't convinced that it was "all better yet." She wailed if you got close to her. She wailed if she had to move. AND she most certainly didn't want to ever have to move on her own. I'm sure you are noticing that this leaves few options. The doctor had assured us that she wasn't feeling pain anymore but from the way she was acting you would have thought she had just broken it. This continued for quite a few days. Still remembering the pain she had been in she was apprehensive about letting anyone near her for fear that the pain would return. Well she still has her pretty blue cast. We have all signed it and gone to great lengths to show her that we can knock on her cast, grab her cast, or move her leg and it doesn't hurt. She is finally moving around on her own and doing things on it again. She even figured out a way to climb up the play ground equipment and slide down again. Then just today she walked for the first time...which is a huge success since the cast goes up over her knee and keeps it from bending. She walks all hunched over like an old women because her right leg won't straighten. At times she will even only make it few steps before she loses her balance and falls on her butt. However, every time she falls she pushes herself back up onto her feet and is on her way again. It may take her awhile but she finally reaches her destination and she ALWAYS gets there with a grin on her face so big that you would think she just won a marathon.
I've been thinking a lot about our little Monica and her reaction to this whole experience. I can't say that I can blame her. I probably would have been scared to let anyone get close to me too. It made me stop and think about how often we do that in our own spiritual walks. We go through a particularly rough patch in life and come out of it spiritually crippled. We then spend who knows how long scared. We are scared of being touched. We are scared of anyone getting close. We are scared of hurting again. So we put up walls, we block out those that are trying to help, and we shut down. We focus so much on the pain that we felt that we forget about all the other moments in our walk. We forget that there was every a moment when walking or letting someone reach out to us didn't hurt. I want to challenge all of you who are currently feeling spiritually broken to stop for just a second so that God can remind you that even though it hurt for awhile that you are on the mend. That it is ok to put weight on that area and it is OK to trust again. You are going to have moments as you are hobbling along when you find yourself on your backside just push your way back to a standing position and start again. It is going to be a slow process. However, don't let that stop you from getting there with an ear to ear grin that lets everyone around you know that you made it! I can't promise Monica that she will never experience pain again but I can do my best to help her through this time. It is the same way with God. He isn't going to promise you will never have pain but He whispers words of encouragement for how to overcome those trials and tears. Don't be afraid to let Him carry you for a bit while you try and find your legs. I can't think of a more comforting pair of arms. For those of you that are doing the reaching out and finding the receiving party crying out in frustration and anguish don't be discouraged. They notice those helping hands and they need them. It just might take them awhile to figure out how to accept them. Hang in there and know that we are never alone even when we are going through the fire.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Kids will be kids

I am struck daily by how unpredictable children really are. How true is the statement kids will be kids. No matter what we tell them or how many times they are constantly doing their own thing. However, countless times I have found them in a situation where they really probably should have been "talked" to but I can't keep the smile off my face long enough to do it. That sort of situation happened last night. I had sent the girls to get ready for a shower and was helping do something in the kitchen. When I made it back to the bedroom I could hear the water running in the shower so curious as to what was happening I made my way back there. As I made it to the door way I could see sweet little Monica sitting half in the shower and half out. Let me remind you that she has a broken leg and isn't supposed to be getting the cast wet. (though it may have happened a few times already and we have sat with a hair dryer doing our best to fix the problem) With a groan I headed toward her telling her sweetly that she couldn't be in there. However, as I got closer the sound of giggles reached my ears for the first time. As I peered into the shower I found not only Monica but Marjuri as well. Marjuri had managed to get out of her shirt but was still very much wearing the pants we had put on her for the day and her jelly sandals!! Shower hose in hand she looks up with those sweet brown eyes as yet another giggle escapes. As frustrated as I wanted to be that Monica's cast was wet yet again or that Marjuri was soaked while still in her clothes, or that there was water EVERYWHERE I found that all I could do was giggle right along with them. After pulling Monica back out of the spray of the water I headed for my camera. I mean are you really surprised... I am the picture girl! :)

When I had finished the girls showers and cleaned up any messes I headed over to help Carlos with the boys. Carlos had just finished with Antonio and was attempting to dress him. I say attempting because all little Antonio wanted to do was dance! He is our little dancer for sure and was standing on the table shaking everything God gave him with the biggest smile on his face! You would have thought that there was music blasting from somewhere...nope just the music in his head. It didn't matter though because he was having the time of his life. Also about that time he noticed the mirror behind him and started hamming it up while watching himself. He is just started to figure out the whole reflection thing and loves it! He waves to himself, talks to himself, and gives himself kisses.

Another of our recent children discoveries would be Monica with her shadow. She is so amused by the fact that it is always with her and often pulls on your hand to say look look as she points to her shadow. She moves to see if it moves. She talks to it...the works. It is so fun to watch. I have said it before but life is so much sweeter when you are living it through the eyes of a child. Things that I've never taken the time to get thoroughly excited about like my shadow or my reflection! They don't care what that shadow or reflection looks like and they aren't real sure how it all works but it doesn't matter. How often do we see our reflection or shadow and think gosh I need to lose weight...cut my hair....get rid of these wrinkles. We've missed the point. It isn't about what that reflection/shadow looks like it is the fun of discovering it there day after day. They are images of the very finger prints of God.

Another one of the need a camera because you can't muster a "talk" situations happened the other night during dinner. Apparently Antonio wasn't hungry because while I was attempting to feed the other kids, get drinks, and answer the momma mommas Antonio managed to not only dump his bowl upside down but also spill his drink. He then proceeded to mix them together on his little table and make a paste substance for his hair. He would mix it around with his hand then run his hand over his head and all over. I was oblivious to any of this until one of the other children pointed out that I may want to do something!!! He was a mess, the floor was a mess, his seat was a mess...and he hadn't eaten anything! However, no matter how much I needed to take the stuff from him and give him other food I couldn't. Instead...oh yes I went to get my camera and let him have a few more minutes of fun while I snapped picture after picture!

New PJ time!

While here with the Belpre group Grandma Joyce not only brought us nice curtains to hang in the windows but also pajamas for all the kids. They LOVE them. You should have seen the excitement last night as I unfolded them for the girls! Thanks Grandma Joyce for spending so much time and pouring so much love into those little sets of pajamas. They were great appreciated!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


So I'm sure there are those of you out there wondering just what the heck is going on with my blog. Why suddenly I'm throwing up blogs like it is my job. Well the answer is simple. One of the things I'm getting graded on and a requirement for being here is that I will blog 4 times a week. Since we already discussed the huge gap in my blogging life while the group was here you will understand when I say ...I'm a bit behind. So I'm playing catch up. They are blogs that I feel God has placed on my heart. I've spent the last couple of weeks jotting down notes of things that I wanted to share with you later but am just now getting to. However, I do apologize for the fact that my writing is a bit lacking right now. I'm posting blogs that I would have deleted and started over on simply because of my time crunch with homework. My semester is over in just one week and I have tons to do if I'm going to finish with "acceptable" grades. Just thought I would explain the mass blogging that was happening!:)

I want water

We have as a whole decided that we are going to try and teach little Antonio English while he is learning to talk. Therefore, we say and have him repeat words/phrases in English when we are talking to him. The other day as I was working with him I would point to something and tell him the English word for it. I would then say the Spanish name for it before repeating the English word. As I repeated this process again and again I was struck by how trusting he was. Children naturally learn the names of things from their parents or adults around them. However, have you ever really stepped back and thought about this. What if I was telling Antonio that the floor was really called the door. He had no way of really knowing what I was saying was right but with each repeated word he spoke with a confidence that said "she knows what she is talking about." He didn't really know what each word in the phrase meant. He simply knew that if he said I want water he got aqua.
In the same way I have learned to accept the words God has given me. My Father has given His word and I don't doubt it for a second but absorb it like a sponge. I may not be granted the secret of understanding all of the word yet but I keep listening to God's word hoping to one day know their true meanings. For when it comes to the knowledge of Christ I am an much like Antonio. Just as he put his trust in what I was saying I too put my faith in HIS words. There are still parts of this Christianty thing that I may not understand and am still figuring out. However, I will believe the words I want water will give me agua.


It seems like the kids are constantly getting a new pair of sunglasses. However, as quickly as the new pair comes they break them and go without again. Plus no matter how many times they receive another pair the novelty never seems to wear off. They get as excited for the 100th pair as they did for the first pair. While my dad was here he had the privilege of giving them each a new pair and watching the joy on their little faces as they jumped up and down with excitement. Of course I was there camera in hand ready to capture the "perfect" picture. Some of them turned out way cute and I couldn't resist sharing them with all of you!:)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Godless places

I recently found a song that touched my heart and has stayed there ever since.
As you know last week I spent quite a bit of time here as the "only momma" in
the house. What I may have forgotten to share with you is just how tiring that
could become. There were moments when I wanted to scream or just lay down and
sleep forabout 5 days straight. One of those days I came over to the apartment
to get a shower and take advantage of a few minutes away. Before heading to the
bathroom I walked over to the CD player and pushed play. Now for about the past
3 weeks we have had the same CD in so that was what I expected to hear. You can
imagine my surprise as the first song began and I was unfamiliar with the singer.
Deciding to listen and see what it was I continued on my way to the shower.
Just as I was stepping out of the shower song number four began to play. By the
time I got back out to the living room I had heard enough to make me want to start
the song over again and really focus on the words. As the song began again I began
to feel the tears pushing their way forward and my heart starting to soften.
I had come to the apartment in an attempt to escape. I was ready to hide from God
and everyone for at least a good 15 minutes. However, God took full advantage of
my emotional state and took the chance to break me in a way that I hadn't been
broken for awhile. Somewhere in the midst of the frustration I had forgotten why
we were here. I had forgotten the things of my past that had led me to this point.
I had indeed spent many days dragging HIS name through GODLESS places. I have
failed and I have floundered. Still no matter how bad I messed up or what I did
He wasright there with open arms. Just waiting for me to turn around and head back
for home.Yet there I was watching children who messed up and who were floundering
and I was ready to run from them. I was frustrated with them. I then thought of
the line "I've seen pain on broken faces" and it made me remember just how many
times my messing up had hurtthose I loved. How often had they been frustrated with
me and longed for nothing more than a chance to run from it all. Yet they stood by
me.They waited by the doorwatching for me to turn around and they prayed me through
those rough steps of life.I'm not saying that this song had some miraculous power
to keep me from every getting frustrated because there will always be moments of
frustration. However, it reminded me that when I was the biggest mess those were
the moments when I needed my loved ones the most. Those were the moments when I
needed to know that all I had to do was turn around and head back home and HE would
RUN to me.For those of you who have had moments in life where you've trudged through
the valley dragging God's name behind you through the mud you know what I'm talking
about. It is that feeling of knowing you have messed up and your head is so heavy
with shame that you can't even lift it. Thoseare the moments that we hope with all
our might that someone might reach out and hug us.It reminded me that when the kids
mess up and stand before me with their tear stained faces that what they need more
than anything is for me to kiss away their tears. I have felt those kisses and know
the feeling of Grace. After everything I had done God pulled me out of the pig pen,
wrapped me in in His cloak, and welcomed me back into the family.

I drug his name through godless places
And I’ve known shame that no child of his should know
I’ve seen pain on broken faces
Beyond all thought of hope
I was just too far from home
Still I always wondered when I closed my eyes

After all I’ve done
Could he run to me?
Would he kiss my face?
Could he even look at me?
After where I’ve been
should he take me back?
I would understand
I’ve disgraced him
But it would be amazing
If he still calls me son

With nothing left for me to bring him
I left my pride and turned my heart toward home
I saw my home on the horizon
And from a distance
I saw my Father
Watching for his own with forgiving eyes

After all I’d done
He just ran to me
Then he kissed my face
He would not let go of me
After where I’d been
He just welcomed me
I didn’t understand
But he put his robe on me
It was so amazing
That he still called me son

One day as I breathe my last
And I know my days on earth have ended
When every hour is spent
I will close my eyes in amazement
And I’ll hear angels
They’ll be singing

Amazing Grace
Cause he will run to me
And he will kiss my face
He will not let go of me
After where I’ve been
He will welcome me
I won’t understand
How he’ll put his robe on me
It will be amazing
That he’ll still call me son

Amazing grace how sweet the sound
When he calls me son
I once was lost but now I’m found
Cause he calls me Son

Brian and Rudy

So I'm going to cheat a bit and steal a blog off of Jen's blog. Since she had spent FOREVER typing up the story I figured people could read it on her blog. However, I find myself desiring to share the news with those of you that may be connected to me and may not read her blog. I want to say that the story still gives me goose bumps and makes me want to cry every time I hear it or think about how awesome our God is.

Jen's Blog:
As I begin to share with you let me tell you that this is the first time that I remember feeling as though God was answering my prayers the moment I spoke them. He didn't ask me to wait and grow (as we're all familiar with that one), He didn't tell me the timing wasn't best, He didn't say no, He just went ahead of me by a step and prepared the way. It was beautiful and I am just now getting to fully reflect on how it happened and how tender it was that He took such beautiful care of my heart.So many details to share...please bear with me, I promise you'll be reminded of the faithfulness of God. Look past my inadequate words and please see a Father who loves His children, every one of them no matter where they are!So you might remember several months ago my post on two precious little guys that we had met one night while we were going through the pharmacy drive thru. They had come up to my window to ask for some lempira's and had coke bottles under their shirts and eyes that were cloudy from the effects of the frequent sniff's. As I looked down into their little eyes, my heart was caught and I remember thinking oh Heavens I want to take you home, give you a bath, cut that hair, and sit down and hold you and remind you how much you're loved. They asked for some food that first night that I met them and we were headed to Pizza Hut and so I said well meet us over at Pizza Hut in 5 minutes and yes I'll buy you some food. I am ashamed to say that my thought initially was that we would go into Pizza Hut and eat and I'd either get them some food to give to them or we'd give them our leftovers. (I still shudder at the fact that my brain in the moment was malfunctioning.) Their idea when I said I'd feed them was that they were going in with us and before I even had time to think about it, my 5 boys and these sweet little dirty guys with barefeet just trucked right through the door and into the play area at Pizza Hut. We all sat down at the big long table and they all played together and we had soooooooooo much fun. They ate so many pieces of pizza I was scared to get the bill and delighted to pay it all the same. :) As we said goodbye that night I wrote my number down on a piece of paper and handed it to one of them and told them to come back tomorrow with their mom and that I would help them file the proper paperwork and get them help and that they could come and live with us. We left with hugs and a prayer.We went back the next day and couldn't find them anywhere. Over the course of the next month we drove through that same part of the city and looked for them sooooo many times. Our boys prayed for them every single night and asked me every day when they were coming to live with us. I didn't have any answers, I had felt so sure that God had led us to them and couldn't figure out why it wasn't working out. Felt so hopeless in some ways because we were here had a home and couldn't find a way to get these sweet boys in it.When we were in town a few months later when Kay and Joyce were here we were driving by the Mariott and these two little guys came up to my window and they were way familiar faces.
(This was the day they picked me up from the airport. I met these boys and felt my heartstrings being pulled before I even met our kids)
I stopped at the light and got super excited to see them and asked how they were and told them to come on we were going for ice cream. Had a ball. That was January 18 and the next day was my birthday. Told them to come back to the same place in the morning and that we'd buy them breakfast and bring them some things. Once again they were barefoot and in ragged clothes. So there they came early the next morning and we all sat down and ate breakfast and I loved on them and AGAIN I wrote down my name and number and I said put this in your pocket, don't lose it, and tell your mommy to call me, I WILL HELP YOU!!! Didn't hear anything from them again and I am still thinking, what in the world??!! God I don't get it, we have a place to help them, I want to help them, I feel called to these two boys so strongly for some reason and I have to believe that's from you, why is this not working?? No answers.So we went to visitation on the last Friday of March to take the kids to visit their mothers and as soon as I stepped out of the van I saw this little guy running and I couldn't make out who it was until he threw his arms around me and yelled TIA and I looked into a little face that made me want to bawl. It was Brian, one of the brothers that I'd met so many months ago and had prayed for nearly every day since. One of the ladies that was sitting with him walked up to me and she said, you need to know that he has cried every day since he got here because he said some lady promised to help him but he couldn't find her phone number but he wanted to go live with her. She said when you drove up and he saw you get out of the car he said, that's her. Awwwwwwww...ok so I was smitten with this little heart all over again. So I went inside to talk with the social workers and told them about the fact that we'd built a relationship with this boys and that I really wanted to take them to live with me. They told me that that wasn't going to be able to happen, that Rudy (his brother) had already been court ordered to another children's home and that Brian was to go there tomorrow. I wanted to bawl. I said, but he doesn't want to go there, he wants to live with me, and I want them to live with us and our boys have prayed for them nearly every night, and it was a futile effort, they weren't budging. I left feeling very defeated...but praying that God would protect those boys and draw them to him.This past week the group had a visit scheduled to Casitas on Tuesday and I was running late because I had a meeting that I had to go to between the blind school and Casitas and so was an hour or two late. When I pulled up in the car Ashley was sitting beside this sweet little face that I love and I recognized immediately as Brian.
(He came running up to me when we got there and stayed by my side the entire time and kept asking when Jen was coming!)
My mouth dropped open because he was supposed to have left a week ago to go to the other center. I got out of my car and asked lots of questions about what happened and he said, I didn't want to go I want to live with you. Ok tears!!!!!!!!!!So my feet went trucking back into that office and said to the women in there, what do I need to do to take this little guy with me...I will do whatever it takes. I asked for the name of the center where Rudy is because they refuse to separate the brothers which I completely understand and so I said I'd take them both...they still wouldn't do the paperwork required to change the orders. I was getting way frustrated by this point and felt like we weren't doing what was best for the kiddo's which certainly was getting my feathers ruffled. Left the office way upset and so I went back out to face Brian and tell him there was nothing I could do. I couldn't ever get those words out of my mouth though. So instead I looked at him and I said, I want you to know that I want you to live with me. You are such a special little boy. So you pray and I'm gonna pray and I'm gonna go talk to some people tomorrow and see what I can do ok??!! All of this was said with serious tears in my eyes praying that I wasn't doing the wrong thing by giving him false hope. He just kept sitting beside me putting my hand up to his little mouth and kissing it. Broke my heart. It was time to board the bus and I hugged this little guy with all I had in me, and his eyes filled up with tears. I said hey don't be sad, God is great big and you pray tonight really hard ok, and I'll have all my friends that are here with me pray too ok. Let's just pray. Then I said let's pray right now and so I knelt down there in the dirt on these knees with this precious little guy and I put my head against his and I just basically said ok God we just are gonna trust you and we need your help. I got on the bus and I put my head on the seat in front of me and I cried like I haven't cried in a LONG time!!! I was heartbroken and didn't have a clue what to do and wanted to help rescue this little guy soooooooooooooooooo bad!!We had a devo at the Jesus statue that night and after devo was over I just explained the story and told them that I wouldn't be with them because I had to go fight for a little boy because I promised him that I would and I begged for their prayers. So we all prayed together for two little boys and for God to work all of this out in the very best way whatever that was because we just weren't sure what to pray for exactly.After I shared, this sweet gal, Iris, that was with my dear friend Gina that night came up to me and asked for more details and said that her mother worked for IHNFA and worked with adoptions and that possibly she could help me. Gave me just an ounce of hope at least and God used her in that moment. Didn't have any idea how much He was about to use her. The only thing I had to go on at this point was that Rudy was at some center called Amor Y Esperanza and that possibly Iris's mom could help me the next day. I knew though that I only had until about 2 pm because the other center was coming to get Brian then. So I needed a plan and fast.We were headed back down the mountain to take Gina home and I wanted to take donut's up to the team for a treat and so I asked Gina and Iris if they'd like to grab a donut or would rather just go home. They said yeah they'd like to go with us. (Which is a rare deal as well, because Gina never eats junk food so the fact that she said yes to a donut is worth noting.) There were two other people in the Dunkin Donuts besides us and when we pulled up Iris said hey I know that lady, she's a doctor with the Baptist mission in a village out of the city. So we walked up to the counter to order and Iris went over to talk to them and she came over a few minutes later grabbed me by the arm with enthusiasm and said hey you need to come over here right now this guy is the director of Amor Y Esperanza. WHAT??????????????????????????? I had to pick my jaw up. So I walked over introduced myself, told him the story of Rudy and Brian and just asked him if there was anyway we could work together to help them and do what's best. He said, well I'll tell you what we have 3 centers, let me give you the name of the one where Rudy is and the name of the director there, and you'll need to call her in the morning and explain the situation to her, and we'll go from there. I could not believe it. Out of 1.6 million people in this city, God allowed us to be in the same place at the same time, and I couldn't decide if I wanted to do cartwheels or cry at His tenderness and relentless love.
(Jen returned to the Mission House with some great news AND doughnuts. The crazy part was that while she was in the city doing all this I had taken a few minutes to slip away and sit on the side of the mountain begging God for a way to make the boys ours. When I returned to the Mission House you would have thought it was in the middle of the afternoon as loud as everyone was being. As soon as I entered Jen found me and shared the news!! Only minutes after my prayers. Talk about some fast answers!)
So Gina agreed to go with me to speak to the director the next morning and so we went early in the morning to meet with this sweet lady named Claudia. She was a delight and if for no other reason than getting to meet her it would have been so worth it. She agreed to let me shadow her and learn from her and she is obviously a woman who is in love with her Lord. I am looking forward to that. When I explained the situation to her, the one thing that stands out is her saying, "if you feel this strongly about being called to these two little boys and the bond you've formed with them I have to believe that's from God and I want to help you." And she did. She gave us a copy of the entrance papers with their full names on them and their id numbers and gave us the judge's name and said that we'd have to go talk with her.So we went from the director's office to attempt to go to the office of a lady we have some affiliation with from when Tim worked with her with Dona Aguas (the prior first lady). She is what we would call the D.A. over the children's courts and we attempted to call her several times and couldn't get ahold of her and so Gina said well let's just stop by. So we went into her office and she recognized Gina and said well come in. It was crazy, she was crazy busy, and she is normally not in her office but she just "happened" to be this morning. She listened to the story, she looked at the papers we had, she said oh yeah I know this lady she's one of my best friends I work with her often, I'll call her right now. So she got her on the phone explained the situation, told her she thought this was in the best interest of the children and I only heard her end of the conversation so all I could hear was, yes I know we'll need to do an inspection first, so how about tomorrow at 1:30?? I looked at Gina like yeah right, you wait for a month for things like this, they are not going to come tomorrow, and then I heard her say, tomorrow at 1:30 ok I'll see you then. WHAT?????????????????????????And so the meeting was in place and in a 24 hour period of time God had blown me away. I went from hopeless to hopeful and remembered that if God could create the world, part the seas, calm the ocean, He could certainly bring a couple little boys to this home if He so chose.The ladies came out the next day to do an inspection and everything went well and the judge walked into my office and said, well I do believe this is best for the children. I will be changing the orders next week. Congratulations you have 2 new boys!!I am floored and humbled and touched to my toes that God would wait until the perfect time. That He would nestle two boys in my heart long ago and teach me so much through this process. That He would allow me to learn that they were worth fighting for and that the battle will never be mine but His and that He will walk ahead of me and prepare the way. That He would love me and these two little guys so much that He would work this all out in the beautiful ways that He did.SO I HAVE AN ANNOUNCEMENT...Rudy and Brian are coming home...home to Casa...home to this heart...home to these brother's and sister's in this family that God had prepared for them before the beginning of time. I am honored to be a small part of all of this...thank you for you prayers. It was such a sweet gift to be able to share the moments of all of this while the team was here. I will never forget the ways you all encouraged and prayed hurt and rejoiced with me through the events of this week. You are precious!!

Gods Team

This is a tribute to a coach who I had the privilege of growing around. A man who is as passionate about the girls on his team as he is about the sport he is coaching. His love for the game and seeing others enjoy the game are evident in so many ways. However, above all else it is his love for his team that moves me the most. I have heard countless times phrases like "she needs basketball more than basketball needs her" or "getting her in the gym gets her off the streets" or "being on a team requires them to keep better grades and stay out of trouble" or "she doesn't do a lot for us when she is on the floor but she has a good heart." He looked at every girl that walked through the doors of the gym not as his next star but another child to invest in. It seems he has always looked past simple physical ability and straight into the heart of every girl that showed up for tryouts. Don't get me wrong the coach loves to win and is just about as competitive as they come. He loves practicing a play during practice and then watching it be perfectly executed in the next game. However, more than that he sees the importance in reaching out to those kids who might have nothing else. Kids who are used to nothing more than making trouble or having a hard life. These are the kids that pull most at his heart strings. They are the kids that he keeps on the team simply because they need the team. They are the kids he drives 30 miles out of his way for just so they can have a ride to and from practices/games. They are the kids whose parents he talks to so that they might be allowed to actually go out for the team. He fights for them and relishes in their successes no matter if those successes are making their first basket all year or finally remember how to run a play correctly.
It may have taken me a few years to finally see it but when I did it was bluntly obvious to me. The coach was playing much the same role that Jesus played. No matter how much crap he got for keeping a certain girl on the team or putting her on the floor he could see how important it was for her to be included. His team looked much the same as what Jesus' team looks like. Jesus doesn't simply keep the talented, the athletic, or the "good" ones. He takes the physically challenged, the broken, and the needy. There have been many moments in my life when I have felt unworthy of being on Jesus' team. I just knew that there had been some kind of mistake when cuts had been made and they had kept me by accident. However, there has been no mistake...not with me or with you. We were meant to be kept on the team. Jesus is all about winning the fight for souls but he is willing to take the risk of putting you on the team simply because he knows you need someone on your side. He knows you need the team more than the team needs you. So be thankful that we are serving a God who looks past our physical ability and into our hearts. He is a God who sees our brokenness and says put her/him on the team anyways.

Monday, April 16, 2007

New Life

About 3 weeks ago Bonnie Greuey called me to ask if I would be willing to spend a few days contemplating the meaning of new life then spend a little time jotting those notes down in the form of a sermon. She was in charge of the sunrise service Easter morning and was leaving me with the job of writing something that could be read to our congregation. I told her that I could for sure come up with something and immediately began to ponder what I would say. For those of you that know me or have gotten to know me through my blog you know I'm a girl of many words. Therefore, you'll understand why when I found myself lacking in that department I was shocked. No matter how long I thought and prayed about it the words just wouldn't come. As Friday (the day I said I'd be done) came and went I began to feel the desperation welling within me. What was I going to do...she was counting on me to come up with something. The problem wasn't that I didn't have anything to say on the topic but rather that I had TOO much to say on the topic. I couldn't find a good way to say what I felt needed to be said and so I was struggling. The problem was completely explaining the ways I have changed and found new life since getting here couldn't be summed up in a 3-5 minute talk. The problem was I couldn't figure out what words to use to best describe what was going through my head/heart. I have found a new meaning for new life since arriving in Honduras. I have received new life in a multitude of ways. I've been broken. I've grown. I've changed. Don't you worry deep down inside I'm still me. I'll still laugh at you when you fall down the stairs. (just ask Jen) I'm still the first to crack a joke or be sarcastic when the time comes. AND I'm still your go to girl if you need some craziness in your life. However, there are parts of me that have matured in huge ways. There are places in my heart that are forever changed and imprinted by the life I now am leading here. It was that imprinting that I was trying my best to find the words for. I've included the final product of the sermon that I wrote for those of you that may not have gotten to sit through the sunrise service at my church. As your reading and after I would just challenge you to really sit and contemplate what new life means to you and what you want that new life to look like.

When Bonnie first asked me to write a little something about New Life I can remember thinking “what the heck am I going to say.” I began to simply ponder those 2 simple words. What exactly did it mean to have new life? What must we do to be saved? The answer came to me almost as fast as the question. We must accept the fact that we need to be rescued and admit that we have done wrong and that we do not deserve to live forever with God. We accept the fact that Jesus paid the penalty for us long before we were born. The Bible tells us that if anyone believes in Christ he or she is a new creation — a new child of God. The Holy Spirit gives us new life. It's not just us trying to live a good life on our own strength — it is God living in us, as we allow him. It is a dramatic change, as a new nature begins to be developed within us — a divine nature. We do not live for ourselves, but for Christ. As Christians we WANT to obey God, but because of our weakness, sometimes we disobey. The good news is that God continues to love us, for Jesus' death has paid the penalty of all disobedience. We are forgiven, not condemned, with the wonderful hope of living with God forever and ever in incredible joy and love.
When I became a Christian I stepped onto the path God had set before me. However, as a new Christian I found myself stumbling and sidestepping. Often times my Christian walk looked more like two steps back one step forward. I struggled to find a consistent place with my newfound faith. I had started a new life and was doing what I could to make the best of it. However, that was the problem, I was doing what I could to make the best of it. I didn’t understand the importance of handing my life over to God and letting HIM make the best of it. I wanted to be in control of that new found life. I was thankful for it but wasn’t quite prepared to hand over the reigns that would be guiding all of my days.
The term New Life means so much more to me than it ever did before. I had found new life when I came to know Christ as my Savior but being here is completely different. Not only have I taken on a new life in the spiritual sense but also have taken on a new life as far as my role in life. I now play mom to 10 kiddos who without the orphanage they live in would never know what a mom was supposed to look like. They would never have known what a home was supposed to look like. However, they are not the only ones being changed. I have learned what it means to love another unconditionally. Not simply because I was born into their family or because I’m supposed to but because I choose to. It is a love that comes only from being care giver…from caring more about their well being than you own…from praying nightly about them and what their futures hold….from seeing their hurts and hurting with them….from playing protector of everything from their bad dreams to a nest of ants to the evils of this world. Before leaving for Honduras I never truly understood God’s love for his people. Now I feel that I have a better grip of what that love looks like…it looks like the love of a parent for their child. In fact it looks a lot like the love my parents always had for me. No matter what I did or how bad I messed up they were there to pick me up and attempt to help me find my way. Being here has given me a better appreciation for my parents and a love that runs deeper than ever before. Before coming to Honduras I was living a life for Christ. After coming to Honduras I’ve learned what it meant to live a life of sacrifice for Christ. I made a decision not only to step onto a plane heading to Honduras but also to take a step toward being a true follower of Christ. Each one of those steps took me farther from my family, friends, and comfort of the only life I have ever known. I still miss my heart people and the routine way of life there. However I have found a contentment here that comes only from answering God’s call. I have found a different sort of new life that comes solely from stepping out of the boat and trusting that my God won’t sink below the surface of the water. I can’t find enough words to express the changes that have taken place in my life. Not only would I now stick my hand in a crib to grab a spider that was crawling near my babies I am daily shouldering my cross and walking with my Heavenly Father.

Favorite White Shoes

As you all know I spent a significant amount of time here at the house alone with the kids the past couple of weeks. Well no matter how much I love those little ones there were moments of stress and frustration. One of those moments came last Friday as I was trying to dress the girls. After struggling to dress the first three children I came to child number four- cute little Katty. I managed to get a top and bottoms on here....but then came the shoes. I tried the jellies. I tried the cute little red shoes. I tried the tennis shoes. However, with each new pair of shoes cute little Katty's temper tantrum grew. She wanted her little white sandals and she wasn't going to settle for less. However, no matter how hard we looked those little white sandals were nowhere to be found. Finally, in my last moments of searching I saw the toe of one peeking out from under a discarded shirt. I stepped over the traumatized toddler and uncovered the missing shoes. With a shriek of joy and a clap of her little old hands she contently sat down prepared to have her shoes put on her feet. All was right in her little world. It was a true moment of chaos to the point of melt down for little Katty. As for me all I wanted was to grab her and stick just any pair of shoes on her feet and tell her to live with them. I was too worn out to deal with something as minor as not getting the shoes we want. It was then that it hit me.....How often do we do that in our own lives. I know you are thinking "I most certainly do not throw fits because I don't get the shoes I want." However, I know that I personally have had many "wrong shoe crises." Some rather insignificant thing goes wrong, and suddenly my world is destroyed. I cry and mope and pout- even have a few temper tantrums- and then God reveals the very simple solution I would have seen earlier had I not overreacted so badly. If Katty had just helped me look or simply put on another pair until the lost shoes were found we could have avoided the tears/tantrum. How many times in moments of impatience and desperation do we forget to wait for God's perfect plan. We get so set on what we want that we don't even consider other options. How often do we let the "lost shoe crises" of our lives throw us into a tail spin and steal our happiness. If we keep our eyes on Him and stay calm we will learn to search until we find our "lost shoes" in His time and in His way.


A couple of weeks ago we had the kids outside playing right before dinner and little Monica broke her leg. Marvin was riding a bike that was way too big for him. He came around the corner of the playground equipment and ran into her. When they hit he knocked her over and ran over her leg. Broke the bones right above her ankle. It only took me 2 seconds to look at her with my little to no medical expertise and I knew we needed to get her to the doctor. It was a mangled mess. Jen and I headed into the city with her which by the way was the longest car ride of my life. I felt so helpless as I sat there holding her and was unable to do anything to stop the pain. The worst pain a momma can feel is having to watch one of her little ones suffer and know there is nothing they can do to help. It was a hard ride into the city. She ended up getting a cast that she will have to wear for a month. She is slowly getting used to it and learning how to get around with it on. Little Francisco offered a little assistants by pushing her around on a little toy with wheels. She loved it!

So since it has been so long I wanted to take the time to not only give you a glimpse into what God has been doing with my heart but what has been going on here at the house. Last Saturday the 7th Katty had a birthday. She is one of the 3 children who came without a birth certificate. Therefore, she had no name or birthday. Nobody is real sure how old she really is or when her birthday should be. SOO...we simply picked a day. Best guess would be that she turned 3. It was a great day of fun!! We had cake and then she got a bubble maker as a present!:) She loved it.
As you all know...last Sunday was Easter. However, it was an extra special Easter for us. Not only was it my first Easter as a "momma" but it was the first real Easter the kids have ever had. Boy was it a great day. We got up and headed to church. Then afterward we had nap time so that they could be fully rested for the big "fiesta!" We had spent time the day before dying Easter eggs so that we could have eggs to hide. On top of that my parents sent lots of goodies for Easter Baskets as well as plastic eggs with all the fixings for egg stuffing! We hide tons of Easter eggs. I can't even explain to you the joy on their little faces as they ran around finding their eggs. We invited the pastor and his family as well as one of our workers and his two children. They all had a blast racing to see who would be first to find their eggs. Then to add onto that joy they finally realized that the eggs were full of goodies. I turned around at one point to find that little Antonio had abandoned the search for eggs and was contently peeling one of the hard boiled eggs and eating it!!! Once all the eggs were found we rounded up all the kids and headed inside. Due to the fact that it had rained all day and was way muddy we did a good ol' fashion foot washing before they entered. Even though they didn't really understand the symbolism behind the act I was greatly moved by it. We then had a big feast and the pastor's wife gave an amazing Easter lesson. It was a sweet sweet day that will go down as one of my most precious memories.
Good ol' Daisy showed up at work one day last week with a dog...oh yes a real live dog. Not only did she show up with it but also brought it right into the house. I was back in the girls room helping Monica get dressed when I heard all the others squealing and clapping. When I went to investigate they were all running around following this dog. It reminded me so much of a t.v. show as I watched them chase this dog down the hall way and around the corner. Then all of a sudden one by one the kids come running/screaming back around the corner toward me followed quickly by the dog. Needless to say this dog had a collar, was well feed, and obviously well taken care of. Yep you guessed it...Daisy had brought home somebody else's dog and no matter what we said she was convinced she was keeping it.
It has happened...the kids finally got rough enough on the pool that they broke it. I haven't had the chance to see if it could be revived but something is going to have to happen because we have some sad kiddos!
Not so much of an update as just a few extra pictures but the older boys were willing to let me have a little fun the other day. They posed for me and hammed it up. It was great fun and I couldn't help but take tons of pictures.

blog of apology

I wanted to take a few moments to explain the huge gap between this blog and my last one. I am sincerely sorry for all of you frequent viewers of my blog. I can't imagine how frustrating it must have been to sign on day after day only to see the same blog staring back at you. No matter how good of a reason I may have it doesn't make up for the countless times you suffered through with nothing new to interest your brains! Now for the excuse part of the blog...please have a little mercy!:) On the 5th of April we had a missions group from Belpre fly in to spend 10 days doing a variety of acts of service. As some of you know this group comes down every year at the same time and happens to be from Jen and Karen's home church. Therefore, upon their arrival Jen and Karen joined these people that mean so very much to them to help with the activities of the week. They stayed out on site with them and worked with them each day. This not only meant I was the only "momma" in the house but also that I would be very busy. However, it didn't matter how busy I was because they had needed to take the laptops and computer cords for the facility they were staying at which meant I was left with no Internet connection and no way to blog for all of you. However, I did get to spend 3 or 4 days with the group. I had the privilege of getting to know some of the most real and humble people I have ever met in my life. I have never worked with a group of about 40 people and walked away so thoroughly impressed by each of them. I was blessed simply by having the chance to get to know them and work with them even for such a short amount of time. So as a shout out to them...THANKS for the way you touched my heart and the country I call home. Bless you all.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Extreme Home Makeover...Honduran Style

Even if you have never watched an episode we have all heard of the show Extreme Home Makeover. You know the show I'm talking about. Where they put together one very run-down house, a deserving family, and several opinionated designers and in a seven days span change the lives of that family forever. They are on a race against time to complete work that should take months. I have watched hundreds of episodes of the show and was equally touched each time by the story, the beauty of the house, and the gratitude of the family. However, no matter how many times I had watched it be done on t.v. it could never have compared to playing a part in the process. No I didn't miraculously get the chance to join with Ty and his team on a work site...what I did was 10 times better. I spent all day yesterday on a work site that was much like those we watch on television. Except the house we started with would have brought Ty to his knees. We were on our own race for time...a race that came with the fact that we didn't just take a house and refurbish, redecorate, and redo it. We tore it down piece by piece, brought in completely new material, and built a brand new house were the old one used to stand. Our completed project was no where near as grand as the ones the team on Extreme Home Makeover would have done but to us and the family the house resembled the grandest palace ever! I have lived here for almost 3 months now and had yet to have the privilege of building a home for someone. Well now I have! I spent all day yesterday with the guys on the side of a mountain doing one of the greatest acts of kindness I've ever had the privilege of playing a part in. We woke up before dawn, climbed into a truck, and headed for our work site. It wasn't until I got into the car that the story of what the day would hold started to spill out. The family was living in a home made of sheets, some wire, a few boards, and scrap pieces of tin. It was 8 foot by 10 foot. Which I might add is smaller than my bedroom at home. They then mentioned that the father of the home wasn't even going to be home and to top it off had no idea we were building him a new home! So we make the climb up the mountain and when we come to a stop I find that I can barely even speak as I look at the home we are about to transform. We could only drive the car so far and then had to carry our supplies up a slope to get to the house. I kid you not their home was built ON THE SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN! When I say side of the mountain I mean just that. You are hiking up the side of the mountain (a decent sized climb) when you come to this relatively flat part. (still was on a slant just not as bad) Well they had taken advantage of that flat spot and built themselves a home with what little materials they could find to use. The mother and her two children were home when we got there and we simply explained what we were there to do. The lady started to tear up and thanking us over and over. After that we quickly got to work. Due to the amount of people we had with us to work I was able to spend a lot of time playing with the children and speaking with their mother. She asked why we were doing what we were doing. She thanked me yet again. I was able to tell her that no thanks was needed...I mean it was the least we could do. I told her all thanks went to God. Later that day after talking with one of the pastors she decided to be baptised and from what I heard gave her life to Christ. Well we worked hard for hours carrying the materials in, contructing the home, then putting on the finishing touches. Just as we were about done with the house they brought the father of the home back. They hadn't told him anything about what we were doing they simply gave him a ride up the mountain. He rounded the corner to his home and about went to his knees as he realized what was going on. He gripped the car nearest to him and put his head in his hands as he sobbed. No exaggerations the man cried for at least an hour. I've seen lots of happy families on Extreme Home Makeover but nothing compares to the reaction I witnessed yesterday. It was a beautiful sight...a beautiful experience...and a beautiful example of service. As we were putting the last few touches on the home the man disappeared for a bit. When he returned he brought with him chips and juice that he had went and bought with what little money he had simply so he could give back to those of us that had been working on his home for the day. We were not expecting or wanting any kind of payment. However, even though I wasn't a bit hungry I wouldn't have turned down this man's attempt to repay us for what we had done. It was a wonderful day filled with laughter, tears, and a whole lot of love. I know that I've been rambling on in this blog but I just wish I could find the words to truly express the experience. I don't think I will ever be able to tell you how great it was! God is so good!